Gladiator character jug modeled by Max Henk and produced by Royal Doulton of Burslem, England, between 1961-1967. Gladiators were trained warriors who fought bloody battles against each other or wild animals to entertain the ancient Romans. First appearing around 264 B.C. at a funeral of an aristocrat, the spectacles grew in popularity. Gladiators used many different types of weapons including an oblong shield, a helmet with visor, a stabbing sword about two feet long, a net and a trident, or a three-pronged spear. Although gladiators usually fought until one was killed, the loser's life could be spared if the spectators waved their handkerchiefs; otherwise they turned their thumbs down, a practice continued today to express disapproval. Most gladiators condemned to fight in these contests were prisoners of war, slaves, or criminals. However, some freemen fought for money and fame. These cruel battles were justified as necessary to harden Roman citizens to the sight of blood and to build their tolerance to war. Emperor Honorius finally banned the battles around A.D. 404. This gladiator wears the full armor of his profession, and the handle is formed by his shield and gladius, from which his name is derived. The Gladiator character jug was made in three sizes with this being the largest along with small (D6553) and miniature (D6556) sizes.